Setting a new bar for energetic and interactive performances is the ‘Hot Potato Band’ who are set to perform at the Potato Shed on August 15th.
The band boasts a larger-than-life brass collective that pushes euphoric boundaries in their bold quest to reignite acoustic instrumentation.
Their unique sound is built on the backs of vocals, a sousaphone, five horns and three drummers, including band manager, Simon Ghali. Mr Ghali said the band first formed in 2009 for what was supposed to be a one off performance at a winery on the NSW’s South Coast.
“I had been running bands since I was in high school, and I was called up by the owner of this particular winery to organise a band. They mentioned they had no access to power where the band would perform, so an acoustic performance would be preferred. It was a last minute booking, but I managed to have just enough time to put together a roaming brass band made up of friends and bandmates,” he said.
With very limited time the band had to learn 4 songs, but were booked to perform over a 4 hour period. They came up with the idea to repeat the four songs over and over, however, in the hopes that it would sound different enough to listeners, on each repeat they’d have a different member of the band lead the song and it’s on the spot arrangement.
“In the end we couldn’t hide it, however we did realise the power of performance, interaction and energy because these were amongst the things we could change and keep the show fresh for those watching” Mr Ghali said.
“The name simply came from the idea that each of us would take the lead on a song, however, it was a stressful thing to do and we likened it to a ‘Hot Potato’ that was being tossed around the group… you almost couldn’t wait to throw the responsibility to someone else in the group. In the end, we had a lot of people call us wanting us to perform and before we knew it the band’s name was preceding itself. We keep it now as a reminder of where it all started.”
Un-bound by genres, stages and audiences the Hot Potato Band are re-inventive of the traditional New Orleans brass band as a modern day dance machine and visual spectacle for all demographics.
Mr Ghali said the band works hard to include the audience in every performance, trying to emphasise their own fun-loving, organic, and quirky musical nature.
“Hot Potato Band is all about breaking down the barrier between the stage and the audience. We don’t use music or microphone stands, this allows the band members access to the whole venue (including the dancefloor) without compromising the audio. There are many surprises we’ve built into the show (that we can’t disclose here) that involve audience members in a way to connect them to us, the music and the experience.”
With so many members in the band Mr Ghali said it gives them their own unique challenges, yet the positives far outweigh the negatives.
“Having enough beds when on the road [is a challenge]… but honestly, as long as there is a plan and everyone knows where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do, then all of the fun and creative elements of the group come out to play.
“We are lucky to work with so many proactive musicians who know when to be serious and when to have fun. We all look out for each other both physically and mentally, and in a sense it’s like a little community”.
So expect the unexpected, but also be ready to feel uplifted. They are currently touring their new song ‘It’s Your Own Body’ around Australia and are excited to play at the Potato Shed!